Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United

109 33
´╗┐Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United
On October 4, 2001, we confirmed the first bioterrorism-related anthrax case identified in the United States in a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida. Epidemiologic investigation indicated that exposure occurred at the workplace through intentionally contaminated mail. One additional case of inhalational anthrax was identified from the index patient's workplace. Among 1,076 nasal cultures performed to assess exposure, Bacillus anthracis was isolated from a co-worker later confirmed as being infected, as well as from an asymptomatic mail-handler in the same workplace. Environmental cultures for B. anthracis showed contamination at the workplace and six county postal facilities. Environmental and nasal swab cultures were useful epidemiologic tools that helped direct the investigation towards the infection source and transmission vehicle. We identified 1,114 persons at risk and offered antimicrobial prophylaxis.

In Florida, human anthrax has been rare; among eight human cases reported in Florida in the 20th century, the most recent was a cutaneous case in 1974. On October 2, 2001, a 63-year-old Florida man was hospitalized for a nonlocalizing severe illness that began 2 days earlier, characterized by fever, chills, sweats, fatigue, and malaise, which progressed to vomiting, confusion, and incoherent speech. No history of cough, dyspnea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or skin lesions was reported. On October 4, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Bureau of Laboratories confirmed B. anthracis from a culture of cerebrospinal fluid. The patient's condition deteriorated, and he died 3 days after admission.

After anthrax was confirmed and in consideration of possible bioterrorism, we initiated an investigation to determine the extent and source of the event, develop control strategies, and protect potentially exposed persons. This report summarizes the findings of our epidemiologic investigation.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe at any time

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.